New Zealand flag contest – Red Peak design back in after government U-turn

Following a petition and a political row, a popular fifth design has been added to the shortlist in New Zealand’s hunt for a new flag.

Aaron Dustin's Red Peak design
Aaron Dustin’s Red Peak design

A fifth proposed design in the competition to replace the New Zealand flag has been added to the shortlist following protests after it was initially left off.

The Red Peak design, by Aaron Dustin, was omitted from the original shortlist of four designs that will be voted by the New Zealand public.

More than 50,000 people signed a petition to add Dustin’s design to the shortlist and the issue led to a political row in New Zealand after prime minister John Key blocked a move to shortlist the flag.

Prime minister’s U-turn

However, Key has now U-turned and announced that the Red Peak flag will be added as a fifth option in the referendum.

Key says: “The whole way through I have said my preference is to stick with the process that the officials gave us.

“I said I was prepared to go outside of that but I just didn’t want people playing games. The Greens [who lobbied for the Red Peak flag to be added] have been very, very straight.”

10,292 crowdsourced designs

Key adds: “There were 10,500 recommendations, it’s always a challenging process to get down to four or five and in the end, one of those five or four will come through and it will be where it will be.”

The four shortlisted designs
The four shortlisted designs

Dustin’s flag will now join the four other final designs, which have been created by an architect, a graphic designer and a flight attendant.

They were chosen following a crowdsourcing competition that attracted 10,292 designs.

No designers on selection panel

The selection panel for the shortlist featured a number of people from different walks of life, including an advertising executive, a tech entrepreneur and a former All Black rugby player.

Although the panel didn’t feature any professional designers, it says it has worked with design experts – as well as cultural and flag experts – to select the designs.

The five designs will now be put to a public vote in November and the winner will go up against the current New Zealand flag design in a second referendum to decide which design should be used.

It adds that if a new design is chosen then it could start to be flown as early as next year. It says the estimated overall cost of a flag-replacement project would be NZ$25.7 million (£11 million).

Discover more:

• New Zealand flag contest – Red Peak entry denied despite protests

• Architect, graphic designer and flight attendant in the running to design new New Zealand flag

• New Zealand crowdsources designs for next flag – final proposals unveiled

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  • Chris Young September 23, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Out of interest, the design’s correct name is First To The Light, but it’s gained the Red Peak nickname through social media. Check out to see the full story behind Dustin’s design.

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